There’s been much ado about Barack Obama’s VP vetter, Jim Johnson, who also vetted VP candidates for John Kerry in ’04. Consequently Jim Johnson stepped down today. In a statement on the controversy Obama said:
“Jim did not want to distract in any way from the very important task of gathering information about my vice presidential nominee, so he has made a decision to step aside that I accept.”
John Kerry weighed in today “when asked on a conference call if he’d advise Senator Obama to retain Johnson’s services”:
“Let me just say first of all, I would never reveal what I do or don’t recommend to either a sitting president or somebody running for president, I think those conversations are personal and private and they belong that way,” Kerry replied. Of course the ‘04 Democratic nominee himself utilized Johnson’s services while vetting his own VP short list.
The ex-candidate called the controversy one of those “Washington grab stories” about someone who is performing a “voluntary function” for Obama. Kerry then praised Johnson for the role he performed in 2004. “He’s proven himself somebody who has a great skill at gathering that information, keeping it personal and private. You will recall there were zero leaks from my process. No person involved in it felt upset or violated by the process…he did an outstanding job in that capacity and I have no complaint about what he did for me,” Kerry said.
Chris Cillizza notes, the situation “illustrates the perils ahead for the presumptive Democratic nominee as he seeks to preserve his “above politics” image even while pursuing the most powerful job in the world.”
I guess someone should have vet the vetter… But the vetter wasn’t an issue when Kerry ran… Who knew.